Flower bulbs can be perfectly integrated with indoor decoration because of their early flowering. One can indeed proceed with indoor forcing, which consists of placing the bulbs in an atmosphere resembling that of winter. Although these plants tolerate low temperatures and the conditions they entail, they must nevertheless be maintained regardless of the growing technique you resort to: on gravel, in-ground, in containers or in a vase.

Among the methods listed above, growing on gravel is the easiest to carry out. To do so, prepare the watertight container in which the bulb will be cultivated. You can let your creativity flow freely by choosing porcelain or earthenware containers, or even a small spherical aquarium. Flower bulbs, with the exception of Narcissus tazetta and amaryllis, will need to stay six weeks in the refrigerator. Line the container’s bottom with la two-inch (5cm) layer of large pieces of gravel. Then, place the bulbs one by one, ensuring that they are not in contact. Insert gravel in the empty spaces, taking care not to fill the pot to the brim. Fill the container with water until the base of the bulb is completely submerged. The day the roots start developing, they will attach the bulbs to the pebbles. Keep the containers in a dark room at a temperature of  50 ° F to 53.5 ° F (10 ° C to 12 ° C) for as long as necessary until the seedlings reach a height of approximately 2.5 inches (6 cm).  Keep an eye on the amount of water present in the container. After this lapse of time without light, bulbs can finally be placed in a warm and well-lit room. Immerse chunks of coal in the container so that the water remains clear.

Planting bulbs in the ground directly

Planting bulbous plants in the ground should be done using planters or containers with pierced bottoms. Then, these containers will be placed on a drainage bed made up, for example, of pieces of wood or stones so that water does not stagnate after irrigation. Planting in-ground also requires a porous and airy potting mix , of which 2 / 3 will consist of garden soil and the rest of sand. To highlight the varieties of flower colours, combine several species of bulbous plants in one pot. An average-sized planter can hold 10 medium-sized crocus bulbs, 5 grape hyacinth bulbs and 5 narcissus bulbs. Grow thick bulbs thick deep in the ground while smaller ones will be buried under the substrate’s surface layer. Tighten the rows while ensuring that the plants do not brush against each other. Furthermore, to facilitate the bulbs’ rehydration, keep a gap of at least a third of an inch (1 cm) between the planter’s rim and the planting soil. Thus, the bulbs will have enough headroom for their first shoots to grow well. In general, rooting occurs after two months when the bulbs are located in a cool place inside or outside the home. If the bulbs are outside, the containers will be stored under a few inches of sand or peat. However, if they are put inside, they will be placed in an obscure and cool spot, with a temperature between 59 ° F and 64.5 ° F (15 ° C to 18 ° C). Rooting will take at least six weeks and you have to water the bulbs time to time, but not in excess.

Growing indoor flower bulbs in containers

Both spring and summer bulbs will be subjected to a similar procedure to force their flowering. Thus, the same amount of potting soil as that required for in-ground planting will be used  First of all, grow the bulbs between late January and early February. Then, place a water receptacle to collect excess irrigation water because bulbs are not very fond of stagnant moisture. You must then line the container’s bottom with a 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick layer of drainage before filling the pot with a blend comprising one third of garden soil, one third of sand and one third of peat. Then, pack down the mixture and water sufficiently before inserting the bulbs. Next, bury the bulbs to 2 / 3 of their height and place each container in a dark room at a temperature of approximately 46.5 °F to 50 ° F (8 ° C to 10 ° C). To recreate the bulb’s burial in peat in the garden, use large containers that can hold the planting pots and cover the whole with peat that is constantly damp. You can remove the pots from the containers after 2 months and normally one-inch (3 cm) shoots will have already emerged. It is only after this phase that the pots will be placed inside the house, but always in a dark corner, for a period lasting one to two weeks. Finally, be sure to fertilize the substrate every week.

Growing bulbs in a vase

Indoor flower bulbs, such as hyacinths, are ideal varieties to be planted in a vase. To start off, seal the bulbs in a plastic pouch which you will then place in a cool place, namely the refrigerator’s vegetable compartment. However, this sudden change in temperature will only be applied to hyacinths and amaryllis. Then, drop the prepared bulbs into a bulb vase filled with water, making sure, however, that the bulb does not touch the water as this may cause it to rot. The roots will sense the close presence of water, which will enable them to grow. Place the vase in the dark until the shoots reach a height of at least 2.5 inches (6 cm). From that point on, you can remove the bulbs from darkness and expose them to daylight, remembering to control the amount of water, keeping in mind that it must never touch the bulb.

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Published in Flower bulbs by Alexander on 11 Aug 2011